Sitting in the southwestern part of the state of Colorado, Durango is one of Colorado's most picturesque towns. Boasting beautiful views of the surrounding scenery in every direction, this town is the county seat and largest municipality in La Plata County. It houses Fort Lewis College, along with various other landmarks, and covers an area of 13.93 square miles. The total estimated population of Durango, CO is around 18,000 people, but many more are drawn to the town each year due to its prime location and various attractions. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Durango, CO

Durango, CO
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The town of Durango, CO was founded back in 1880 as a base for miners operating in the area. The city was actually named after another town called Durango, located in Mexico, which is now a sister city to Durango, CO. The area grew over the years and became known as a great touristic spot due to its stunning scenery and proximity to various key natural and archeological sites.

The Mesa Verde National Park, for example, is just nearby, along with the beautiful San Juan National Forest. The famous Chimney Rock National Monument is another nearby attraction, and the popular Purgatory Ski Resort is just a short drive away. The town itself also offers plenty of additional reasons to visit, being well-known for its one-of-a-kind Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a heritage railway running between Durango and Silverton, CO, with the two towns sharing a special bond and a lot of history.

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2.Elevation of Durango, CO

Elevation of Durango, CO
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Whenever we talk about a town or city, or even mountains and other landmarks around the world, elevation is one of the most important geographical statistics to mention. Elevation tells us how high or low an area is in relation to the Earth's mean sea level. The town of Durango has an elevation of 6,512 feet (1,988 m), which is very high when compared to most other towns and cities around the United States, but quite average for the state of Colorado. The nearby town of Silverton has a much higher elevation of 9,318 feet (2,840 m), so any trips along the famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad involve a big rise in altitude.

Colorado residents are used to living at high altitudes, with the mean elevation of the state being 6,800 feet (2,070 m), so the town of Durango is actually lower than the average reading for the entire state. It’s also lower than many of the popular little resort towns dotted around Colorado like Aspen, which has an elevation of just under 8,000 feet (2,438 m) or Vail, which has an elevation of 8,022 feet (2,445 m), but still higher than the likes of Denver, which has an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,609.344 m).

The highest town of all in Colorado is Leadville, which is located in Lake County in the Rocky Mountains and has an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m). The highest elevation point in the entire state is Mount Elbert, which has an extremely high elevation of 14,400 feet (4,401 m), while the lowest point in the state is a section of the Arikaree River which is situated at an elevation of 3,317 feet (1,011 m). The elevation of Durango is not particularly high for the state of Colorado, but is still much higher than most other locations all around the United States.

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3.Climate and Things to Do in Durango, CO

Climate and Things to Do in Durango, CO
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Durango has a warm-summer, humid continental climate, resulting in quite high temperatures through the summer months, with average highs of 86°F (°30C) in July, which is the hottest month of the year. Those temperatures can start to drop quite severely during the colder months of the year, however, going as low as 15°F (-9°C) in December and January on average. Around 20 inches of rain are expected to fall per year in Durango, CO, but three times as much snowfall hits the area each year, especially in December, January, and February.

The town is a great base for a recreational holiday and a big hit with outdoor enthusiasts. Nearby locations like the various forests and mountains offer all sorts of hiking, cycling, and camping possibilities. The aforementioned Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a very popular attraction as well and one of the biggest reasons people tend to visit Durango. The local Purgatory Resort also offers nearly 100 ski trails of all difficulties, and various annual events and festivities are also held in and around Durango like the Snowdown festival, which features an exciting parade, and the classic music celebration - Music in the Mountains.

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Durango, CO Elevation

More Ideas: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road & Museum

Durango and Silverton, Colorado are connected by a rail road that still carries passengers between the two towns via vintage steam locomotives that give a beautiful mountain view. Visitors can also visit two museums in Durango and Silverton that celebrate the history of the historic railroad.

Durango, Colorado was original founded in 1879 as a stop on the Denver & Rio Grande Rail Road which was used to haul silver and gold out of the San Juan Mountains. The rail road finally arrived in the town in 1881 and by the summer of 1882 had connected to the small town to Silverton. Soon, the train began carrying both freight and passengers between the towns. The train has never ceased operating since 1882.

The Narrow Gauge Rail Road has seen many uses over the last century including military uses in World War I and II, Hollywood showcasing the train and the city of Durango in films such as Around the World in 80 Days, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and several others. Today, the rail road still provides train service all year with locomotives that are 100% coal fired and steam operated. The locomotives that are in operation are from the early 1920’s and are maintained in their original pristine condition. There are restroom facilities and concessions available on each train as well as open panoramic gondola cars for beautiful mountain views. The rail road is now operated by American Heritage Railways.

There are two museums, one at each end of the line in Durango and in Silverton. The museum in Durango is 12,000 square feet and was opened in 1998. Most of the exhibits in this museum were donated by families of rail road workers from the D&RGW line. Guided tours of this museum can be prearranged and a book store is also available with a large rail road history section.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road Museum in Silverton is in the Silverton Depot that was built in 1882. This building has stood the test of time, having been built to be temporary and bombed in 1975, this building has been a symbol of strength in the community. Baldwin Locomotive #493 from 1902 is on display in the courtyard.

D&SNG Yard Tours are also available where visitors can get the full story of the 135-year history of the rail road and see the inner workings of the yard and shops on a fully guided, immersive tour. Tours last for one hour and participants will get to see the machine shop, round house, car shop, and go behind the scenes in the museum with a docent. These tours are done May through October and are available twice daily.

Locomotive Cab Rides are available where you can see what it takes to operate a locomotive for a day and live the life of an engineer and fireman. These are 3.5 hour rides one way can ride, but a 9-hour round trip experience. There are also similar excursions available but in motor cars. These types of rides can be taken all year round. Riders must be over 18.

Historic Narration Rides are available in the summer and fall where passengers ride between Silverton and Durango with theatrical storytelling of the history of the West and Old days in the two towns.

Train to Cascade Canyon is one of the most popular routes offered by the rail road. This scenic route is beautiful no matter the season. The 26-mile-long journey will take 5 hours and is popular for photographers and nature lovers. The trip winds through the San Juan National Forest and follows the Animas River.

There are several annual events that are hosted along the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road. There are also many special events that can be found on their website. Some of the events visitors can look forward to annually are:

The Durango Blue Train- Held to both usher in and close out the summer, the Blues & Brews Fest is a 21 and older only event with live blues music on board the locomotives as they travel from Durango to Silverton on a round trip past the beautiful San Juan National Forest.

Narrow Gauge Days celebrates the beginning of summer and train season every year with an annual free picnic for the entire community at the Durango Depot. All the trains are in operations, guides are in costume offering tours and history lessons, and the Durango Cowboys are strolling around as well.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Durango, Best Things to Do in Colorado

479 Main Ave, Durango, Colorado, 81301, Phone: 970-247-2733

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More Ideas: Blue Lake Ranch near Durango

Resting on 200 acres of pristine landscapes near Durango, CO, Blue Lake Ranch is a romantic lodge and ranch that offers an exclusive and unforgettable mountain getaway. Boasting unique and beautiful lodging accommodations with breathtaking views of the La Plata Mountains, Blue Lake Ranch also provides sumptuous cuisine, modern amenities, warm and welcoming hospitality and a tranquil and relaxing ambiance. Blue Lake Ranch is perfect for a quiet getaway or an adventurous vacation and is within easy access of popular attractions such as the Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and the Durango Silverton Railroad.

Guest Accommodations

Blue Lake Ranch offers a variety of comfortable, individually decorated accommodation options ranging from rooms and suites to casitas, and cabins. Each lodging is designed for comfort and style, with cozy, mountain-inspired décor and furnishings, crackling fireplaces and private decks with spectacular views and modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.

The Sunrise Casita is decorated and furnished in a Southwest style with hardwood floors and cedar beams. The casita features a spacious living area with a sleeper sofa for extra guests, a gas fireplace and spectacular views of the La Plata Mountains, as well as a king bedroom with a pillow-top bed n sumptuous linens, local antiques and an en-suite bathroom with a large jetted tub and a large walk-in shower. A private porch boasts breathtaking views of the Blue Lake Ranch grounds.

The Sunset Casita is artfully constructed with hand-hewn logs and antique hardwood floors and features a spacious living room with a gas burning fireplace, queen sleeper sofa, dining table and chairs and a wet bar for entertaining. The bedroom has a king-size pillow-top bed with plush linens, and a private bathroom with a tiled walk-in shower and large jetted soaking tub for two.

The Sage and Garden Rooms sleep two guests and feature king-size pillow-top beds in plush linens, private bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers, and comfortable living areas with gas burning fireplaces and plush seating. The Garden Room has a back porch that overlooks the gardens.

The La Plata Vista Room is a romantic retreat for two with a king-size pillow-top bed in plush linens, a private bathroom with a jetted soaking tub and walk-in shower, and a gas burning fireplace and wet bar.

Located on the second floor of the historic Ranch House, the Lake View Suite can accommodate up to four guests and features a king-size pillow-top bed with plush linens, and an en-suite bathroom with a large jetted tub and a large walk-in shower. A spacious living area with a sleeper sofa for extra guests, a gas fireplace, and a wet bar with a microwave, and a private deck offers fantastic views of Blue Lake.

The Pinon Suite is an attractive two-room suite with a spacious living area with a queen-size sleeper sofa, a fully equipped kitchenette and private patio with lovely views. The master bedroom features heirloom furnishings, a king-size pillow-top bed with plush linens, and a private garden entrance and a large bathroom have a luxurious soaking tub.

One of the ranch’s original homestead bedrooms, the Mesa Verde Suite boasts the comforts of an elegant farmhouse with a spacious living area and wet bar, shared sunroom library and private bathroom with a jetted soaking tub. The bedroom is on the second level of the suite and features a king-size pillow-top bed with plush linens, a twin daybed for extra guests and a writer’s desk and chair with incredible sunset views.

Surrounded by lush, European-style gardens, the Cottage in the Woods is a perfect retreat for two with a cozy sitting area, wet bar, and stone covered porch with chaise lounges. The bedroom has a king-size pillow-top bed, a gas burning fireplace, a romantic window seat, and a private bathroom with jetted spa tub for two.

The two-bedroom Mountain View Suite is ideal for family and friends with plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces, including a terrace with a stone patio and outdoor seating for six. The ground floor of the suite features a spacious living area with a queen-size sleeper sofa, library with reading area, and a fully equipped kitchen. A full bathroom can also be found on this level with a walk-in shower and jetted spa tub for two. The upper floor of the suite houses the master bedroom, which has a large bay window overlooking the garden and the mountains and a king-size pillow-top bed, as well as a second bedroom with two twin beds.

Located on the second floor of the new Spring House building, the Upper Spring House can sleep up to six guests and is ideal for families and groups of friends. Two master bedrooms have king-size pillow-top beds and gas burning fireplaces, as well as private tiled hacienda-inspired bathrooms with walk-in showers, double vanities, and large jetted tubs. A spacious living area has ample seating, a wet bar and gas burning fireplace and two twin daybeds for additional guests, and a large wraparound covered deck is the perfect place to relax and soak up the views.


A delicious complimentary breakfast is served every morning in the sunny breakfast room and includes an assortment of fruit and fruit juices, hot and cold cereal, yogurt, freshly baked bread, pastries, muffins and waffles, French toast, eggs, and meat dishes. Hot locally blended coffee and a variety of teas accompany the cuisine.

Weddings & Events

Blue Lake Ranch Inn works in partnership with the Ridgewood Event Center in Durango to accommodate and cater for weddings, receptions and other special events for up to 250 guests.

16919 Hwy #140, Durango, Colorado 81326, Phone: 888-717-8756 or 970-385-4537

More Romantic weekend getaways in Colorado

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